Just the other day Jack, who shoots and edits our videos, stumbled out of his work room and delivered a warning: "I've just been watching Nathan Barley on 4OD, I haven't seen it since it was broadcast and I'm warning you all...Do not watch it!"
Well, that's like a red rag to a bull as far as I'm concerned, so the first chance I had I sifted through the Channel 4 player and located the first episode. I sat in an armchair and watched it, in horror. Jack was right, I shouldn't have gone there.
At the time I found it amusing, having a pop at the Shoreditchers, a little far fetched, stretched to fit a comedy situation, all a bit over the top, as all good satire tends to be. I didn't necessarily identify any of the characters as people I knew, thank God.
But in the intervening years (Barley was first broadcast in 2005) it's all come true. The Barleys are all around us, although in Hackney rather than Shoreditch.
Take my word for it, if you run a website, gallery, coffee bar, venue, magazine, PR company, production house or bar, or maybe work in video, journalism or 'content creation' as we like to say these days then you do not want to watch Nathan Barley.
You may not be Barley but I guarantee you're in there somewhere. I was.
So I watched episode 1, felt nauseous, and resolved to leave it there for the sake of my own self-worth.
You should do the same. I ignored Jack and regretted it.
And the most worrying thing about it was that I found myself thinking: 'trashbat.co.ck looks like a real fun website'. Which is a rather sad comment on websites in 2012 don't you think?
I spent a pleasant couple of hours in Whitechapel yesterday. The sun shone as the traffic roared towards the coast. I was there with my team to photograph and video Toy. We took photos in the middle of the traffic's roar, down a dark alley and, traditionalists that we are, against a brick wall. Then we headed a few yards to Altab Ali Park. At which point I pointed out that prior to it's re-naming, in honour of a young Bangladeshi murdered by several youths, this was the site of Itchycoo Park, as glorified by The Small Faces.
The various members of Toy were impressed. But I wasn't so sure, something in the back of my mind nagged away - are you sure about that Tom?
I thought back to the thoroughly untrustworthy person who'd first told me that, not much else that came from his mouth was truth so maybe this was also a lie, and one that I'd been repeating for years.
So I did a bit of research and it turns out nobody is really sure where it is. Is it in Ilford, Manor Park? Perhaps only Ronnie Lane knows, but we can't ask him, for obvious reasons.
Just down the road from Whitechapel is Spitalfields' Itchy Park, named after the rough sleepers itching their flea bites, apparently. Is this Itchycoo Park?
Who knows? Do you? If so please let me know, let's nail this once and for all.
And make no mistake, the desire to grow rich in Shoreditch has never gone away. Why should it? After all, for most of its history this area contained; "... base tenements and houses of unlawful and disorderly resort' containing a 'great number of dissolute, loose, and insolent people harboured in such and the like noisome and disorderly houses".
The base tenements may have gone (why so many buildings appear to be held up by bits of wood I can't imagine) but the dissolute, loose and insolent people seem to have multiplied. In fact there are now so many of this sort that you could probably hold a music festival and fill Shoreditch Park with them. Ahem!
And did you notice how many shoe shops there are around here? Back in the day, when The 'Ditch was playing catch up with Hoxton, I delighted in calling it The Shoe District, largely because it pissed off the Hoxtonites, which is never a bad thing, after all, it'll take a long time to forgive them for The Hoxton Fin.
These days Shoreditch is known for 'creative' types. You can tell them by their silly clothes.
Actually you can't. For every 'creative' with one trouser leg rolled up sporting clogs and a fur t-shirt there are fifteen fashion students specially flown in to walk up and down Great Eastern Street pretending to send important 'creative' texts. Generally female, usually from the far east, they are known locally as Ditch Dykes. Look around, there's one right next to you.
When folks who tinker about with websites and such like became known as 'creatives' I have no idea, but in a world run by geeks I guess they can call themselves what they like. I know what I call them.
But here's the thing about Shoreditch, it's actually as dodgy as Blackpool. It's the latest destination of the chancer, the spiv, the rip-off merchants, displaced from the West End they drifted east in search of new victims. 90% of what you see is a lie, concocted by villainous cunts who 15 years ago made their money dishing dangerously cut Ecstasy to the naive, now they sell a mirage to fools. Wherever money passes from hand to hand you'll find them, passing themselves off as movers. The only thing that moves is the money, from you to them. Did I compare them to the Blaggers of the golden mile? If so I was being very unfair to the people of Blackpool, where hucksterism and ripping off the tourists is a way of life. In Shoreditch they dress up in local colour and hide themselves among the 'creatives'. It may not be as obvious, but most of Shoreditch is a baited trap for fashion fools and their parent's money. It's a front, a great steaming pile of lying shit.
And there's an awful lot of parent's money sloshing about. This is the land of the spoilt brat intern. Knock on the door of any of Shoreditch's many 'fashion' publications and the chances are the door will be opened by The Honourable Hanoria Slit who luurves working for Damaged and Cockrot magazine and has done so for two years. Without pay. Without a brain. Without a clue. They flock to offer their dumbass services to the hucksters, only too glad to have slaves to feed the big lie. And now they 'work' in fashion and PR, they tell daddy, when they go home to the family estate, that their life's dream has come true, the sad truth being that if it came to wages nobody in their right minds would pay them to sweep the street. And what is so appealing about working in PR I'll never know. PR is the ultimate huckster trade, selling crap to the crapulous, pushing knock off shit like it matters.
It doesn't. It's cold-calling from a call centre in Middlesborough, with latte.
All of which we celebrate in a festival, the work of the biggest con artist huckster wankers in The 'Ditch.
I remember going to the first V festival. I never went again, it wasn't for me, it was a family festival, parents and kids. On arriving we headed to an outlying stage to see Elastica, we sat down and started doing a bit of festival origami, you know, making interesting things with a bit of paper and some herbage, as you do. Pretty soon we realised that more of audience were watching us than the band. We were the centre of attention as families looked on. I think they thought we were permanent exhibits, actors paid to act like festival goers. But that's V for you, it's been like that from day 1.
So it was a bit surprising to see a great deal of discussion in the press about this year's do. You see, apparently the kids were more interested in David Guetta than The Stone Roses and held Professor Green in higher esteem than Noel Gallagher's latest bunch of numpties.
Cue much breast beating about 'kids today' and their texting lifestyle, short attention spans and willingness to be exploited by the big brands. "That's it!' seemed to be the consensus, 'We're screwed'. Of course, the mistake they made is the same mistake I made in going to V - they assumed it was a festival like the ones they knew, and it isn't, and never has been. I'm not going to argue with those who say that Pop music, as represented by Radio 1, is pretty awful right now, it is. But we've been here before and lived to tell the tale, we all know it's cyclical and that at it's lowest will always open the door to the likes of Chinn Chapman, SAW and in the present era Simon Cowell etc. Pop has always exploited the lowest common denominator, and the kids. Whining about kids ignoring the Stone Roses will not help anything. What do these ageing geezers have to do with the kids anyway? The broke up before most of them were born.
The only way to improve the situation is for the guys on our side of the fence to improve their game and make better music. But gap year rockers are in the way, they don't mean it, and we, and the kids, can tell. Indie has become a sort term hobby for graduates before doing 'a proper job'.
I blame Facebook.
Tink, Tunk, Pank, Snikt, Sniff, Skree, Kretch, Thunk, Sniff, Thunk, Crakk!, Skshh, Womp. Wham!, Whunk!!, Crunch Crunch Crunch, Kerank, Whunk! Klick, Blam.
I've just been reading the latest Wolverine. It's a banger. Above are all the sound effect words from it. I'm particularly keen on Whunk! Skshh is the sound of Wolverine walking down a scree slope, Thunk is the sound of a crucifix being slammed onto a desk. Snikt, well you all know that that's the sound of Wolverine's claws emerging from his knuckles.
Nice to see Wham! Is still up there, via Lichtenstein and George Michael. Wham! Has legs.
I can't see Kretch being around in 50 years time and Tunk is, apparently, the sound of a door opening. As to Kretch, well that's the sound of a stone man clenching his fist, needless to say.
I used to do sound effects for films. I knew that if I wanted a Crunch Crunch Crunch I'd have to get a foley artist to walk up and down in the gravel trap. If I wanted Tink I'd tap a wineglass etc.
But the most amazing work I ever did in that area was on wildlife shows. Hear that lion eating the dead zebra? It's actually a middle aged guy eating a grapefruit. Most of the sounds in these programmes are false, created in a studio by humans. All those wonderful BBC nature shows, you can believe your eyes, but not your ears. The sound is a liar.
Plomph. That's the sound my arse makes as it hits an armchair each time the latest mag heads off to the printers. My arse has just made that noise. Kerching is, of course, the sound the till makes when you buy it next week.
Struuum, will be the sound at Green Man this weekend, accompanied by the odd Fiddly Dee no doubt. Next weekend is Reading.
Can you predict which sounds will feature there?
Artrocker is back with its June issue - number 130, which is available to everyone right now! **** Miles Kane talks suits **** Echo & The Bunneymen's Will Sergeant talks about a new project **** Joe Boyd talks Nick Drake **** All the regular new blood action with the likes of Wampire and Wolf Alice **** Loads of reviews and more!
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